For the third time since July, city public works crews have found a hole in a 120-year-old drainage culvert beneath East Monument Street near Johns Hopkins Hospital — another setback in a months-long effort to fix and reopen the road.

The small hole opened early Thursday morning about 125 feet from where a much larger hole in the culvert caused a sinkhole to open July 25, officials said. Heavy rains caused that sinkhole to reopen and expand Aug. 26.

The 10-foot-wide tunnel receives storm water from smaller drainage pipes from a large part of the city and carries it to the Baltimore Harbor.

The 2300 block of East Monument has been closed for repairs to the sinkhole, and businesses have faced on-and-off closures because of sidewalk closures and evacuations as well.

The Department of Public Works briefly closed the block's sidewalks again after the hole was discovered Thursday morning but promptly reopened them, officials said. Crews were working to fix the new hole.

Meanwhile, a 22-foot access shaft adjacent to the larger collapsed area of the tunnel was completed Sept. 13, and crews accessing the tunnel through that shaft have been working to line the tunnel with steel reinforcements.

Once all repairs are completed, an inspection of the entire length of the tunnel will be completed, officials said.

The public works department is reassessing how long the repair work will take to complete. Estimates have the work continuing at least into November.

krector@baltsun.com

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